Controversial Cartoon of Serena Williams Reprinted by Newspaper

Serena Williams had no complaint with US Open winner Naomi Osaka

CHRIS TROTMAN GETTY IMAGES Serena Williams had no complaint with US Open winner Naomi Osaka

Australia's Herald Sun newspaper is defending a cartoon depicting USA tennis star Serena Williams having a temper tantrum that many prominent voices have deemed egregiously racist.

An Australian newspaper cartoonist has been labelled a racist following his cartoon depicting Serena Williams during the recent US Open final.

In the cartoon, the umpire asks Osaka: "Can you just let her win?".

The image also depicts Naomi Osaka, the Haitian-Japanese 20-year-old who defeated Williams, as slender, white and blonde.

An Australian newspaper has defended its cartoon of Serena Williams by republishing it on its front page under the headline "Welcome to PC world".

JK Rowling and Nicki Minaj were among a "tidal wave" of critics to denounce the image by Herald Sun cartoonist Mark Knight after it appeared in its paper on Monday.

The cartoonist denied it was racist, saying he had meant to depict only the tennis player's "poor behaviour".

A number of people criticized Knight's cartoon as being racist, including Essence magazine editor Vanessa K. De Luca. If I'd drawn Serena Williams, I'd have focused on her only really distinctive features: her eyebrows and her outfit, as well as her cheekbones, which, together with her strong chin and jawline, give her a diamond-shaped head.

Knight was immediately knocked as racist and sexist for drawing an angry Williams with exaggerated features stomping on her tennis racket with a pacifier nearby on the court.

Mark Knight's interpretation of Serena Williams.

'I think freedom of speech is so important.I hope that she can see the amusing side of it and I hope she is here in January.

"So I drew Serena having a tantrum".

In 2016, Bill Leak was slammed for a cartoon that implied Indigenous fathers were alcoholics, poor parents and irresponsible, again painting a whole culture with historic and hurtful race-based stereotypes.

Williams was later handed a point penalty for smashing her racquet in set two and was then docked a game after continuing her protests at Ramos, seemingly calling the official a "thief".

Speaking to ABC, Knight refused to apologise, saying, "I'm upset that people are offended, but I'm not going to take the cartoon down".

"[It] not only exudes racist, sexist caricatures of both women, but Williams' depiction is unnecessarily sambo-like", the organisation said in a statement.

"I drew her as this powerful figure, which she is, she's strongly built".

Michael Miller, executive chairman of News Corp Australasia, which publishes the Melbourne's Herald Sun, defended Knight. "She's a lot of fun to draw and I didn't draw her with malicious racial intent". "I honestly believe that, in Knight's mind's eye, that is actually how he sees Serena - as a hulking, brutish simian rampaging in front of the world", Harriot said.

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